JUNE 2019

Growcom and Fitzroy Basin Association ran field days for primary producers, local government, private contractors and community groups on ag-technology solutions and innovation for weed management and control.

The field days involved 110 participants and were held in the Fitzroy region in Gladstone, Biloela, Rockhampton and Emerald.

Land use sectors represented at the field days included the following

  • Local Government
  • State Government (including Biosecurity Queensland and Gladstone Port Authority)
  • Primary producers (graziers, growers and croppers)
  • Not for profits (Burnett Catchment Care Association, Greening Australia, Fitzroy Basin Association)
  • Tertiary (CQUniversity)
  • Industry (Horticulture)
  • Private small commercial businesses

Presentations and in-field demonstrations discussed use of ag-technologies such as robots, drones and steam, importance of biosecurity and weed recognition, and issues regarding herbicide resistance. CQUniversity and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) lent a high level of support to this initiative, presenting and providing resources on weed topics such as biosecurity, herbicide resistance and precision agriculture technologies for weed mapping and subsequent control.

Workshops were informal and interactive with opportunities for facilitated discussion; each session included a practical in-field demonstration of the various technologies.

Many thanks to each of the presenters and the field day collaborators

Growcom offers its sincere thanks to the landholders who hosted a field day and/paddock demonstration; without your assistance it would not have been possible to run these practical field days. Thank you to:

  • Henrik Christiansen and staff, Fitzroy River Plantation
  • Richard and James Fairly, Horsley Cross
  • Douew Van Der Merwe, Romeo’s

The following presentations have been made available for downloads and further information.

What participants said about the field days:

“Make these field days more regular!”
– Ian Groves, South Yaamba

“Would love to see more workshops and demonstrations happen in the Gladstone region.”
– Julie Barry, Gladstone

“Fantastic organisation dedicated to furthering knowledge and innovation across industries.”
– Alenna Patterson, Emerald

“Well run day.”
– Anonymous

What participants said was the biggest benefit of the field days:

“Seeing new technology and alternatives to pesticides.”
– Samantha Lensen, Gladstone

“Information around MOA (Modes of Action) weed resistance.”
– Bianca Wellsteed, Gladstone

“Meeting agriculture industry and farmers.”
– Heather Wallen, Biloela

“Use of drones for problem mapping and the university speakers.”
– Toby McCall, South Yaamba

“Demonstration of steam weeding machine and alternate options presented.”
– Anonymous, Gladstone

In terms of what participants intended to do as a result of the field days, responses included:
  • Develop a biosecurity plan
  • Explore use of technology in management. Explore use of steam weeding.
  • Use drone mapping for weeds and weed identification
  • Increase use of drones
  • Engage more in tech fields
  • Further research MOA’s in weed control
  • Increase mulch in paddocks
  • Share with staff and other agronomists at work
  • Keep learning!
  • Share new knowledge with others
  • Recommend drone weed mapping to my organisation

In fact, 70% of participants indicated that they were either Likely or Highly Likely to make practice changes, and that these changes would be made within 2 years or earlier (straight away).

Only a fifth of respondents identified what additional support or service would be of assistance to help, but suggestions included the following:

  • Mentoring to encourage/help/ensure changes are made
  • Grants for research, equipment and labour
  • Contact details of presenters, and copies of presentations made available
  • More info – booklets/fact sheets
  • Organisations combining inter-resources
  • Funding for university research to reach Central Queensland
  • Any regular updates or information days/events.

More than half of field day participants gave the thumbs up indicating that as a result of participating in the Ag-Tech field day their knowledge and aspirations had improved or changed.

Six percent of respondents gave the thumbs-down however indicating that participating in the field days did not at all change or improve their confidence or skills.

More than 90% of respondents indicated that they were Likely or Highly Likely to recommend this field day to a friend or colleague.  No respondents indicated that they were Unlikely to recommend it to a friend or colleague.

By far, the main motivation for participating in the field days was to Increase knowledge and skills, with 80% of respondents selecting this option. Other motivations included (in order of priority);

  • Connect with others/build my network
  • Curiosity/general interest
  • Improve property, productivity and/or profitability
  • Do my bit for the environment
  • It was recommended to me.

Horticulture stakeholders represented the majority of land sectors that were represented at the field days, with 40% of participants either being a grower of horticulture commodities or working in the horticulture industry.  Remaining stakeholders included (in order of participation levels), landholders, government agencies, grazier, service provider, urban resident, industry, grain grower/cropper, volunteer, NRM body, community group, and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

Regional councils where participants operated in included;

  • Isaac
  • Rockhampton
  • Livingstone
  • Banana
  • Gladstone
  • Central Highlands

The combined experience of participants that identified as being a grower, grazier, grain grower was 282 years!

For further information about the workshop series please contact:

Michelle Haase
Hort360 Facilitator – Growcom

0428 586890

The Ag-Tech in Weed Control Field Days and Masterclass were supported by Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. through funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust Program and the Queensland Government. Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. is a proud member of Reef Alliance.